I've been hanging out with my inside me (who always wears something red and clingy, which fits her sanguine character perfectly) and I realized I couldn't grow by shortchanging her...and in fact, the only way I was going to get my roots in place was by throwing myself at her feet and telling her that *only she* could POSSIBLY save the day. I had to make her feel like it was her idea, that the world needed her and her unique fabulosity, and that *she* and She Alone would do it in a brilliant and unexpected way that would be much better than anyone could have expected. I had to lay it on thick:
AT THE SAME TIME, a lot of Legos that were previously in disarray have been falling into place. Here are some things that have been going on....
I am a dancer. I dance. When I don't dance, it's bad for everybody. My dance is a partnered dance. Practicing alone in my dining room is my own essential meditative practice and somatic exploration, but only a tiny piece of a big dance pie.
Unfortunately for three full months now, I've almost stopped going out altogether, which has been crushing, heartbreaking, and physically painful. I don't go out because it's lonely. When I was a baby there were lots of men to dance with. Now I go out and...well, I can dance with Rafael. Or I can dance with Edgar. Ugh.... Most of the time, the pain was so great, it was better to stay home and knit. And I began to think...that's it, that's all that's in store for me here, I will never dance again until I have enough money to go to BA.
It was awful, and I could feel myself getting rusty, and not knowing where to go with my dance or what I was doing wrong. I was longing to really delve into the energy-exchange aspect of the dance, and there was no one to put into my embrace! Also for those three months we had no visiting maestros with whom I could grab a lesson. And Sebastián was home in BA, too.
I had stopped practicing at Kazue's studio too because Kazue always wants me to dance her way, and I want to dance MY way, which is very different. (She belongs to the Gabriel Missé school of thought. I am more of the Geraldin Rojas school of thought. They do not mesh well.) When I finally went back, she said, "oh, Jordana, I thought you had stopped dancing!" Pretty close.... And she said, "oh, if you go out all the time, you will be *depleted*! Much better to stay home! You've been *charging*. Gathering energy."
For her I'm sure that would be true. But for me, I charge by going out and dancing. Staying home depletes me. I starve. I atrophy. I suffer. I create a nightmarish positive-feedback loop that makes me want to go out less and less, that makes me feel miserable, that makes me lose my mojo. It's crap.
Then when Sebastián *finally* resurfaced, he said the magic words that changed everything: "well...you could go to el V. There are more interesting dancers there. —Not that I'm trying to, you know, oversell it!"
I gave him the hairy eyeball. I'm one of a ton of people who hate el V, the most notoriously cliqueish and bitchy Iron Fortress of a milonga there ever was. I went every week for a year and sat, uncabeceo'd, ignored, even though I chatted with lots of the women. Then I gave up. Then nine months later I went every week for six months and sat, ignored, even though by now I was *friends* with lots of the women, and a number of the men with whom I was not going to dance. Then I gave up. But, ok, maybe now was the time....
I went to el V. It was different from how it had been before. Different people. But good dancers! (Not to mention the right general social demographic. It's hard being a 37-year-old tanguera, because most of the men are either 22 or 65.) I am very picky. I go out and sit all night rather than dance with someone who isn't good, and mostly, people are not good. But here, they were good! And, after months of suffering and closing into an introverted dead thing, I danced and danced, interesting, enjoyable, delightful tandas. I ended the evening with my new vote for second-favourite-tanda-of-all-time, with Amadeo Varela, he and I have an unmatchable dance connection and every time he visits we just *murder* the floor, they should really follow behind us with a mop or something. Together we make explosive tandas. Tandas that melt screens. Tandas that teach the nature of desire, and therefore, of yoga and dharma....
WHICH IS ANOTHER REASON HOW, in this clusterfuck of coinciding events, I came to understand what boundaries are to the Jordana on the other side of the table!
My tanda with Amadeo taught me that desire is (to me) the perfect balance of merging with the greater universe and maintaining one's separateness, independence, individuality. It's the agony of knowing you can never truly be *one thing* with anything other than yourself, no matter how much you long for it, and the joy of knowing that you already, completely, *are*, with no effort at all, and it is freely given and shared.
And boundaries are the razor's edge along which all that dances.
Boundaries are the moments when energy has built itself up so much that it transforms from one thing into another. I had previously viewed them as static but now I see they're the ultimate definition of dynamic energy. In dance, can we inhabit these moments with as much fluid awareness as we bring to moments where the energy is still building up? (I'm currently working on ochos, which are just that: you head one way and the built-up energy pivots you and heads you in the other way. When I played the violin, we strove for "continuous bowing": instead of thinking of bowing Up and Down, you see the bowing as one continuous and fluid circle. To do that, you have to really learn to be in the moments of energetic transformation.)
*These* were boundaries that the Jordana on the other side of the table can get behind!
And then my friend who swaps Pilates lessons for massages from me gave me a Pilates lesson whose gist was: "can you feel all your skin hugging your body?" Try it! Feel it! Feel your skin hugging you! Doesn't it feel wonderful? Delicious? De-lovely?
And then I understood: boundaries feel *good*. Boundaries are *sexy*. Boundaries are a sensory FEST! Jordana across the table said that her great strength as a dancer is that she feels acutely inside herself and inside the other person. Boundaries sounded like cutting things off, shutting down feeling. Instead, what if we feel *more*? What if we feel a *third* thing: that razor's edge where I stop and the rest of the world starts. Or, in the case of a dance, what if we feel the moment where I stop and you start? Expand it in our somatic awareness.... Sounds like pretty exciting stuff to me. And to her. She says, yes, THAT will make me the Great Dancer that I want to be, instead of short-changing me and filling me with chamomile tea. THAT is what we will take with us in our suitcase when we go to Buenos Aires!
Balance looks different in different people. When I read the book, I thought, well, everybody's got to have a favourite chakra and mine is *clearly* the second and always has been. Does that mean it's excessive? Mine seems to work pretty well, so maybe you can have a whole lot of one without it being, per se, "excessive." Or at least, not "excessive" in a bad way. BUT these last few months I've been on antibiotics for rosacea (I've been on just about every medicine there is for rosacea and unfortunately, for me, these particular antibiotics are the only thing that does anything—if you ever want to make your million dollars, find a cure for rosacea, because there's millions of sufferers). I'm sure you know about antibiotics. They fuck with your digestive system and parts of you more or less located around your second chakra. They make you feel wan and withdrawn and like staying home knitting instead of going out. And worst of all, they kill your sex drive...which for me is a huge central part of my entire me. Me without it, it's like Simon without Garfunkel. I miss it when it's gone! Not just for, you know, getting into mischief. It also drives everything I do. Dance, art, yoga, music, walking down the street, interfacing with people, trees...it's all sex. Life is the dance of seduction. Or at least, life *should* be the dance of seduction. If it isn't...you might be on antibiotics (or you might be clinically depressed, or you might be under the age of ten). And, as I mentioned, the pranayama has made me stop picking at my face. And since I've stopped picking at it, I haven't needed the antibiotics any more. And now that the antibiotics have had a couple of weeks to clear out of my system...what a "balanced" second chakra looks like for me probably looks different than how it looks on someone else, but I definitely feel like myself again! "Myself" might look larger-than-life to somebody else, but to me, I've always felt I'm exactly the same size as life. Life is, after all, much larger than life.
"Myself" is, as we know, a magnificent fire dragon who snaps up raw men for breakfast two at a time (nice and juicy), but all that passion is not exhausting. Exhausting is when there isn't material around to feed my flame! And then my flame goes out and I am miserable. I should have a ready stack of dry tinder available at all times to avoid that situation. (Or...don't leave home without a few almonds, and do whatever it takes to make sure I get to dance with *someone* good every week.)
Now that I can go to el V and dance, instead of suffering at home alone, and now that I understand that boundaries are fun and exciting and supportive as opposed to restrictive and deadening, and now that that pranayama has pulled the energy up through my roots and made it all the way to my second chakra (or I'm not on medications any more, potayto potahto), and now that I understand that I not only *can't* make it without the Jordana across the table but that, in fact, *she's* the one who's going to make the journey what it is...well, NOW I can go forth and prosper.